Talk Tuesday

Welcome to M3’s first interactive post! I am glad you came to join in the discussion.

Tonight, we are going to discuss in further detail the marriage vows and our ideas of what love really is between Mates.

Marriage Day

I take thee...

Just to catch you up, here are the basics for this discussion:

  • Marriage is a contract.
  • Except for Buddhist vows, all traditional vows use love as a verb.
  • Only religious ceremonies refer directly to fidelity in the vows.
  • English does not do justice to the word love as a verb or a noun as it relates to marriage.

Questions at hand:

  1. What does love between spouses really mean? 
  2. Is it adequately represented in the wedding vows discussed?
  3. Would your Mate agree to your definition?
  4. Have you ever asked?
  5. If so, what answer did you get?
  6. How does the lack of specificity bear on those who feel marriages fail?

How This Works

English: Comment icon

You talk. I talk.

There will be a number of comments go live within moments of this post. There will be a comment for each of the above questions, with some commentary added. When you get to the end of this, likely the comments will have all had time to post. Please reply directly to the comment itself. You will find a “reply” button in the lower right hand corner of the comment. Each comment will be its own discussion.

My responses will be directly to your comments, as they normally are.

If you have a question which is not covered by the comments already, comment directly to the post with the Tell Me More box. Please be sure to leave five stars if you are a participant in (or gain any insight from) tonight’s discussion.

If you need to read…

…the posts and comments which brought us here:

I Take Thee, Mate,

In the Interest of Brevity

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  1. What does love between spouses really mean?

    Answers so far:

    Sensual emotion

    *As we speak of commitment, is the commitment actually love or is it marriage?

    Thinking only of love: What is the feeling of love toward a spouse as it differs from love for family or friends? How does it change or should it?

    • Acceptance. Accepting your spouse as their true self unconditionally. Loving for who they are, not who you want them to be. Love toward a spouse differs in intensity because of the intimacy of marriage but not in kind.


      • Bravo! This is one of the keys I believe never make the His-n-Hers keychains. The idea we can mold someone into who we (want, need, love) is always bad…regardless of the track record of arranged marriages.

    • True spousal love is an unconditional love between two people. It can be forged in stone, but it is important to remember that even stone can be broken. True love means you’d never intentionally hurt the other person and they know it. If you do hurt them, they forgive because they know you truly love them. If you break the stone love is forged in, it can never be the same because you can’t repair stone. Love is unselfish and strives to give more than it takes.

      • Fabulous summation, Mike. You allusion to stone is excellent. I am glad you added in forgiveness, as we are all human and do make mistakes. Thank you! Red.

  2. Is it adequately represented in the wedding vows discussed?

    It is a given vows cannot be universally applicable to every degree of love in marriage. That said, based on your definition of love in a marriage, how can traditional wedding vows be changed to adequately begin to address the presence of love as a requirement for marriage?

    • I doubt you could adequately express in words an adequate definition of love. The whole “for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and in good times or bad” thing is meant to express that no matter what, love will prevail. You could wax poetic and add to that, but you have to look at both sides too. There are limits and if you know that. You can’t expect the other person to promise to keep loving you the same way if you break the rock (*see previous comment) your love is forged in.

      • You are correct, as I will always hold there are some crimes which forfeit one’s right to continue. (Read into that whatever you will.) So, I take it you and John are seeing eye-to-eye on the symbolism as adequate if there is sufficient understanding between the parties.

  3. Would your Mate agree to your definition?

    Since this definition is considered wholly individual, how do you reach consensus with Mate as to what degree of love in marriage is acceptable? Can a marriage survive with only one spouse committed to love in marriage while the other is merely married?

    • I don’t think marriage in the sense that both partners are equally committed and love each other with the same intensity can survive if those factors are not met. I think my wife would agree with me. We’ve both stated we’d be broken if the other ceased to love as we do now.

      • Truly that is an accolade of your combined commitment and a sincere expression of love. I know your marriage is one where you finish one another’s thoughts.

  4. Have you ever asked?

    If you answered no:

    Why not? How are you convinced Mate has clear cut boundaries for love in marriage you will not violate?

    • We talked about it in depth before we were married and it was also a part of the marriage class we took.

      • Well done. I am so glad someone can admit this! The operative word in the first sentence is BEFORE.

  5. If so, what answer did you get?

    How close is Mate’s answer to yours? During the discussion did either of you compromise or add or subtract to your definition of love in marriage?

    • You ask a lot of questions LOL, and I’ve already answered this.

      • Sort of. Was it more that you both thought the same thing (broken without the other) or something you needed to negotiate?

      • So you’re gonna pin me down huh? You’ll have to read to the end for your answer.

        I can’t see how you would negotiate the definition of love. How could you compromise to come up with a definition? I think you hit on something Red. If a couple finds themselves negotiating the finer points of love, or compromising for it, I think they are doomed to fail at marriage.

        When Marg and I met, we immediately liked each other. Within weeks of starting to date, we were beginning to know we were meant for each other, but we did not leap without looking.

        After a couple of months, we were beginning to talk about marriage. Not in the “we’re getting married” sense, but more in a “if we got married” sort of way. We talked (read communicate) about it a lot. We also talked about each other and what we wanted and we really got to know each other.

        After a year, we knew for sure we not only wanted to be married, but needed to be married.

        So I told her we were getting married… Wait – don’t judge me yet. It’s not like it sounds.

        We went and shopped for a reception hall, got a date on the calendar at the church — call often, they lost our date and we had to change it about 3 months before the wedding, a near disaster. (I almost got myself excommunicated from the church over that one.)

        We signed up for a marriage class, had that out of the way when we went to talk to the priest — hint, that made things go very smoothly when we told him we were done and showed him the certificate.

        We did all this because we knew we needed to get married because we belonged together. It wasn’t an order like “We’re getting married.” it was more like, “We better start hall shopping and stuff or we’ll never get it done.”

        Three months later, I finally got the ring set paid for and took her out for an amazing dinner. We talked more about the upcoming wedding (still a year away) and after desert, I asked. It was simple. I told her I’d love her forever and she was the only woman for me. After deserting me for the ladies room in a flood of tears, she came back and said yes.

        So to finally come to your answer Red, It’s like this. No. There was no negotiation. No Settling. No Compromises. We both knew what the other believed love is because we talked about it endlessly and we knew for a fact we were meant for each other because our definitions of love were the same.

        Twenty years later, they are still the same.

        I don’t think we are unique, but I’ll admit it might be rare… Probably because few people have the patience to make sure they know what the other believes love is and are unwilling to settle for anything less than what they themselves know love should be.

  6. How does the lack of specificity bear on those who feel marriages fail?

    The suggestion of premarital counseling came up as a step to overcome the overly broad accepted vows. While a viable suggestion, do you think couples who fail to understand Mate’s definition of love in marriage are more likely to have a blighted sense their love is adequately reciprocated or to feel Mate is unequally yoked in demonstrative love?

    • I don’t think love can survive if both people don’t know how much the other loves them, and that amount of love is acceptable to them. To many people rush in, don’t know their spouse well and don’t really know what their feelings are. I think those marriages fail frequently and partially that includes a lack of commitment on one or both parties.

      I think it’s interesting that 80 percent of marriages between people who have never been married fail. They live together and really don’t have a commitment. Then they get married and still don’t.

      • Any ideas on why that is? How do you enter into anything without knowing how you feel?

      • re the 80 percent bust up factor. Two people move in together, no real strings, no promises, no nothing really. They get along well enough, but never express what they think love is or what they need from each other. I had plenty of roommates from age 18-28, but I sure wouldn’t marry any of them.

        Would you marry your roommate? Just because two people can live together doesn’t mean they are right for each other. Sleeping in the same bed doesn’t change anything. They get comfortable with each other, see each other drooling toothpaste into the sink and think they’re meant for each other.

        Then out of some social pressure point such as family or whatever, they decide to get married. All of a sudden, “who left the cap off the freaking toothpaste” (nods to Don Henley) becomes a big deal and within 10 years, they’re done…

        If you haven’t built the foundations of love, you skip right past that part and lose what you need to make it work.

  7. If you do not say it, how is it so?

    How are the tacit agreements between Mates (not avowals) made known? IOW, how does Mate know what you are silently pledging during the ceremony? Please give examples.

  8. Wrote my own vows which me fiance didn’t care one way of the other about) for 2nd marriage. Just as my first marriage (officiated by a major-league weirdo non denominational minister) it lasted 10 years.
    Let’s just say I’m a bit jaded and cynical about the process.
    By the time you get to marriage counseling it’s already too damned late, in my own experience and those of friends.
    It is because Everyone has their own definition of love, It can’t be quantified. Not only that, but people are unpredictable animals. We can wish, hope and even verbalize our feelings/thoughts/definitions… but we can’t control what the other person decides or their true intentions.
    Kicked to the Ground and Disillusioned in Reno

    p.s. Forgot something else…. people will lie to get what they (think) they want.

    • Rachael, I think you are proving my point. Christy suggested PREmarital counseling, which I think she is right in attributing to longer marriages anyway, to get to the root of the problem before it becomes a problem.

      “It is because Everyone has their own definition of love” …Jaded, I get that, but do you think there are still rational adults who can talk about this sort of thing in terms the other understands to reach a middle ground on which a true “love marriage” can be built?

      PS My screen name in certain circles is Jadedexcentric.

  9. That’s one thing about having a ‘religion’, although Christianity is about relationship, not religion. It comes with certain expectations that are generally accepted across the board as to what love in a marriage is. Unfortunately, not everyone is educated in Christian (or other religious) circles. That’s where pre-marital counseling and mentoring would help a great deal.

    You often see problems before speaking the vows, but you think you’ll work it out later. Sometimes you just can’t.

    • Please explain that. As in, how you think Christianity “comes with certain expectations that are generally accepted across the board”.

  10. Acceptance, compromise and having someone, who gives you that “feeling inside”, have your back.

    • Glad to see compromise finally enter the picture. Marriage is very much about mutual give and take. I like you adding in security as well. Thank you, Lorre.


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